MONTREAL–According to a recent cross-Canada survey conducted by Harris/Decima for the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), 45 percent of British Columbians say they are likely to buy or ready to consider buying an all-electric vehicle for their next purchase. Quebecers are second most likely, at 42 percent. The main areas of hesitation toward electric vehicles involve cost and charging stations.
Price seems to be the main obstacle for Quebecers, 64 percent of whom believe an electric vehicle costs its owner more. “This perception may be due in part to a lack of information,” says Jeff Walker, Vice President, Public Affairs, for the CAA. “When you factor in government incentives and the price of fuel, you can see that an electric vehicle may cost less in the long run than a traditional vehicle. The energy consumption calculator at electricvehicles.caa.ca lets users check on their own.”
Energy supply is also a major obstacle, according to the survey data: 63 percent of Quebecers say they are afraid of finding themselves without a source of electricity during their travels, compared to a Canadian average of 52 percent. “We think this proportion is likely to fall as charging stations are installed, particularly with the Electric Circuit launched by Hydro-Quebec,” points out Sophie Gagnon, Assistant Vice President, Public and Government Relations, at CAA-Quebec. “The technology is changing rapidly, and the more that people see these stations appear right across the province, the more confident they will be about the range and charging of their vehicle.” She adds: “It is worth noting that Quebec already has more than 200 charging stations.”
Quebecers are also the most positive in their perception of the reliability of electric cars. Some 35 percent of the Quebecers surveyed are convinced that electric vehicles are more reliable than traditional cars or just as reliable, whereas the Canadian average is 25 percent. Also, when asked how reliable they expect these cars to be in five years, 79 percent of Quebecers gave a favourable response.
“These numbers are highly revealing,” Mr. Walker says. “They show that Quebecers have more confidence in new automotive technologies than other Canadians. However, the numbers also show that people in the industry still have a lot of work to do before consumers make the leap to electric automotive technology.”
From January 18 to 27, 2013, CAA-Quebec is offering visitors to the 45th Montreal International Auto Show a chance to test-drive a plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). More than 10 vehicles will be available for road tests on a course over three kilometres long around the Palais des congrès.
In addition, the CAA and CAA-Quebec are now offering a Web portal, electricvehicles.caa.ca, to raise consumer awareness of the new technologies and to inform them not only about the models available but also about government incentives, vehicle recharging, locations of charging stations and many more useful aspects.